John Wheeler: We still have lots of cold nights, just not as many as in the past
It is not getting very cold at the frequency that it used to.
FARGO — Through this morning, both Fargo and Grand Forks have recorded 38 days with subzero low temperatures so far this winter. There will likely be several more. The average for an entire winter season over the past three decades is 40 for Fargo and 49 for Grand Forks. For the entire, pre-1900, period of record, the average is 49 for Fargo and 55 for Grand Forks.
This is one of the subtle ways our changing climate showing up statistically. It still gets very cold here in winter and sometimes it gets very cold, but it is not getting very cold at the frequency it used to. To be sure, some of this change is due to the growing urban heat island of these two metropolitan areas. However, data from the Grand Forks Airport, which is distinctly rural, indicates a similar trend. In summer, a similar increase in the frequency of warm and humid nights is measurable and notable.